£25,000 educational space to be built in Parkland Walk

Parkland Walk

Parkland Walk - Credit: Archant

A conservation group plans to teach city children about nature by building a £25,000 educational space where they can interact with the wildlife of the leafy Parkland Walk.

Simon Olley , chairman of the Friends of Parkland Walk. Photo: Nigel Sutton

Simon Olley , chairman of the Friends of Parkland Walk. Photo: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

The Friends of the Parkland Walk announced plans this week to create a meandering path dotted with mini-habitats in the nature reserve that follows the disused railway line between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace via Muswell Hill and Highgate.

Chairman Simon Olley said: “It will be a place where children and adults can wander, sit, and take in the nature around them.”

The educational project will include an ambitious “bug hotel”: a 10ft high, 10ft wide structure made of twigs and sticks where insects will make their home. Children can fish out these insects with nets to watch them up close.

Plans also include digging a pond so children can observe toads, newts, frogs and other pond life.

Bird boxes and feeders will attract birds such as robins, finches and sparrows.

Mr Olley said that it is impossible for nature lovers to interact with the flora and fauna on the path at the moment because it it too narrow.

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“Even though the path is away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it does have a bustle of its own,” he said.

“When we take people on guided walks to look at flowers and wildlife, we are in the way of walkers, joggers and cyclists.”

He added that it is essential to teach urban children about nature.

“The average child spends seven and a half hours a day looking at a screen,” he said. “But when kids are taken into the woodland and see what happens underneath a log they are invariably excited.”

He pointed out that according to National Trust research children were more likely to identify a Dalek from Doctor Who than differentiate between a bee and a wasp.

The Friends of the Parkland Walk group is seeking a £12,000 grant from Tesco to put their plan into action.

The total cost for the development should be in the region of £25,000.

They aim to raise the money with grants, fundraising events, crowdfunding and volunteer work.

Mr Olley said that the work will not inconvenience people using the path as almost all the work will be done by hand, not by construction vehicles.

Because the group is reluctant to disturb wildlife in the spring or the summer, the work will begin in autumn next year.

The project should be completed by the middle of 2017.